Information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

Paying Housing Benefit Directly to the Landlord

Usually Housing Benefit is paid directly to the tenant, but we know that there are some cases where it is not in the tenant’s or landlord’s interest to have the benefit paid this way.

If any of the following can be proved then we will consider paying Housing Benefit directly to the landlord until the tenant can take control of their finances again.

Vulnerable Tenants

If there is a reason why the tenant would not be able to manage their finances we could consider classing them as 'vulnerable'. This could be because of addictions, medical conditions, learning disabilities or physical disabilities.

Unlikely Payer

For this to be considered there would have to be substantial proof showing that the claimant consistently does not pay their rent and uses their rent to fund other aspects of their lifestyle.

8 Weeks Arrears with Rent

For this to be considered we would need to see documented proof of the 8 week arrears. We may look into the reason for the arrears. Please see the Preventing Evictions page for more information about rent arrears and how we try to prevent it.

Reduction in Rent to LHA Rate

Since April 2011 the rules around direct payment of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to landlords have expanded. This allows us to pay LHA directly to landlords if the landlord reduces the rent to the LHA rate (appropriate to the size of the property).

Once the direct payments are being made under this rule it will continue until the rent becomes unaffordable.

Existing tenants will need to confirm that there has been a genuine reduction in the rent to that of the LHA rate to make it affordable.

New tenants will need to show that the rent has been reduced and is affordable or the letting would not have been made without direct payments.

How to get payment directly to the Landlord?

There are many ways which can make us consider paying LHA directly to the landlord under safeguard rules. This could be:

  • indicated on the claim form by the claimant
  • flagged by Landlord
  • identified by Customer Service Staff within the Council
  • identified by Support Group that is or has been helping the claimant.

For this to be considered we would need the form 'Application for Direct Payment of Local Housing Allowance' to be completed (see our online forms). We will also have to investigate and get any evidence to back up the application.

Page last updated: 27/03/2017